In his opening remarks today, CompTel/ASCENT CEO H. Russell Frisby Jr. plans to talk about the associations plans to counter the impacts of recent actions by the DC Circuit and the FCC that he says have left providers in a competitive no mans land where they are unsure of the rules, future viability of their companies and how to compete.
With our members at our side, we will do whatever is necessary to help the FCC and White House understand that continued access to specific monopoly-controlled network elements is the only way that facilities-based local competition not to mention the growth of VoIP will happen, notes Frisby in an advance copy of his remarks, which state competitors have no other alternative than to lease portions of the Bells networks in order to provide services to business and residential customers alike.
Frisby says CompTel/ASCENT co-chaired a group that cataloged data the FCC needs as it considers its final UNE rules, and participated in an industry effort to develop uniform economic theories.
Our hope is that with the facts in hand, the FCC can make a more reasoned decision as it finalizes its permanent rules, according to Frisbys remarks.
He also will appeal to members to give decision makers a first-hand account how their actions will impact their companies and their customers. The FCC and White House need to hear from you! And were trying to make it easy for you to tell them your story, his statement reads.
Frisby also will speak to CompTel/ASCENTs continued fundamental concern: breaking open the monopoly bottleneck. While VoIP is a ray of hope in an otherwise stormy environment, it may not be the panacea that everyone expects it to be, he says. Despite its promise there are numerous obstacles that could hinder the spread of VoIP and other applications designed to run across IP-enabled networks. Chief among these obstacles is access to monopoly-controlled facilities in this case, DSL or cable networks.
These broadband networks are principally controlled by incumbent Bell monopolies or incumbent cable providers that also are exploring the use of VoIP as part of a bundled voice, video and data strategy. Frisby says incumbents are likely to seek to control such last-mile connections, and that CompTel/ASCENT will argue underlying network facilities should not limit consumers choices of service providers.
We only hope that with our input and the facts at hand, regulators, lawmakers and the White House will recognize that this is their golden opportunity to reverse much of the damage that has been caused by recent policy decisions and leave a legacy in which they are remembered for fostering new technology, the creation of numerous competitive telecom providers and the associated jobs, incomparable consumer benefits, and ushering in a new era of communications.